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North Catholic girls join semifinals

North Catholic's Alayna Rocco (11) is all smiles as she comes to the bench in their PIAA 4A playoff game vs. Harbor Creek at Westminster College on Wednesday night. On Saturday, the girls took home a 60-27 Class 4A girls basketball victory at a game held at Bald Eagle High School. Shane Potter/Butler Eagle

WINGATE, Centre County — Wyomissing reached the state quarterfinals due in large part to its ability to make opposing teams hesitant and uneasy on the offensive end of the court.

But North Catholic had no issues solving the Spartans' zone defense.

A 25-point first quarter, sparked by 8-of-10 shooting from the field, laid the foundation for a dominant 60-27 Class 4A girls basketball victory for the Trojanettes Saturday at Bald Eagle High School.

"I have the best assistants a head coach can ask for," North coach Molly Rottmann said of Lauren Wolosik, Lynn Roman, Bill Larkin and Kate Lewandowski. "They did a great job of breaking down film and because of that, we had specific shooting drills we worked on for today. Attack this seam, that seam, we knew how to attack that defense."

The Spartans (28-3), champions of District 3, are usually adept at keeping teams out of the paint, but North's Alayna Rocco and Dacia Lewandowski responded with treys in the opening moments of the game for a quick 6-0 lead. Soon after, Rocco and Ava Walker found a weak spot in the zone, both driving the baseline for a layup.

In just a few possessions, Wyomissing had been knocked onto its heels and the Spartans never recovered.

"Right from the start of the game, they were hitting shots and we weren't," said Wyomissing coach Aaron Anders. "They disrupted us on defense and we didn't do the same. That's a very good team we played today. We got blitzed and it just wasn't our day."

Rocco had 15 of her 19 points in the first quarter, which ended with the Trojanettes leading 25-9.

"It was very important for us to get off to a fast start," said North senior guard Tori Drevna, who scored 16 points on four treys. "We wanted to push the ball in transition and our shots were on."

Lewandowski also scored 16 in the win.

The Spartans qualified for the state playoffs for just the second time since reaching the semifinals in 2004. In their five previous district and state playoff games this season, they had allowed just 29.6 points per game. North Catholic had 44 by halftime Saturday.

With injuries to Lewandowski, Walker and Rocco in the rear-view mirror, the Trojanettes (25-3) have the pieces in place to add hardware to their already-crowded trophy case. In a rematch of the WPIAL title game earlier this month, won by the Trojanettes, they will face Blackhawk in a semifinal Tuesday night at New Castle High School.

"We are peaking at the right time," said Rottmann. "The focus is there and nobody cares who scores."

Said Drevna: "We are sharing the ball extremely well and playing together. That's the key."

NORTH CATHOLIC 60

Anna Waskiewicz 1 1-2 3, Alayna Rocco 6 4-4 19, Dacia Lewandowski 5 3-5 16, Ava Walker 2 2-2 6, Tori Drevna 6 0-0 16, Sarah Loughry 0 0-0 0, Kaitlyn Tavella 0 0-0 0, Emma Shoemaker 0 0-0 0, Annabelle Pawlowicz 0 0-0 0, Lyndsay Luff 0 0-0 0, Mackenzie James 0 0-0 0, Leah Larson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 10-13 60.

WYOMISSING 27

Alexis Hardy 1 1-3 3, Audrey Herkone 0 2-2 2, Annie McCaffrey 3 0-0 6, Amaya Stewart 3 4-4 10, Kaitlyn Brunner 1 0-0 2, Lili Marshall 1 0-0 2, Abby Obey 1 0-0 2, Kacey Meggs 0 0-1 0, Maddie Campbell 0 0-0 0, Lexi Loeb 0 0-0 0, Abby Zethone 0 0-0 0, Ella Amers 0 0-0 0, Bailey Loeb 0 0-0 0. Totals: 10 7-10 27.

North Catholic 25 19 13 3 — 60

Wyomissing 9 6 4 8 — 27

3-point goals: North Catholic 10 (Drevna 4, Rocco 3, Lewandowski 3).

Tuesday: North Catholic vs. Blackhawk, PIAA 4A semifinal, 6:30 p.m., at New Castle

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